We report high aspect-ratio micromechanical structures made of SU-8 polymer, which is a negative photoresist. Mask-less direct writing with 405 nm laser is used to pattern spin-cast SU-8 films of thickness of more than 600 um. As compared with X-ray lithography, which helps pattern material to give aspect ratios of 1:50 or higher, laser writing is a less expensive and more accessible alternative. In this work, aspect ratios up to 1:30 were obtained on narrow pillars and cantilever structures. Deep vertical patterning was achieved in multiple exposures of the surface with varying dosages given at periodic intervals of sufficient duration. It was found that a time lag between successive exposures at the same location helps the material recover from the transient changes that occur during exposure to the laser. This gives vertical sidewalls to the resulting structures. The time-lags and dosages were determined by conducting several trials. The micromechanical structures obtained with laser writing are compared with those obtained with traditional UV lithography as well as e-beam lithography. Laser writing gives not only high aspect ratios but also narrow gaps whereas e-beam can only give narrow gaps over very small depths. Unlike traditional UV lithography, laser writing does not need a mask. Furthermore, there is no adjustment for varying the dosage in traditional UV lithography. A drawback of this method compared to UV lithography is that the writing time increases. Some test structures as well as a compliant microgripper are fabricated.

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